You are on page 1of 13

MIND TEXT

August 2006
Volume - 1
Issue - 4

Editor :
Hariprasad R.C.

C O N T E N T S
REALITY CHECK

The Faking Messiahs


FOCUZ

National Insecurity
REALITY CHECK

Reservation Issue
RTI CORNER

RTI Report
PUBLIC EYE

Another Story
RTI CORNER

RTI Report
TEA TIME CHAT
Centre for Public
Policy Research
Vaikom Road, Cochin
Kerala, India - 682 301
www.cpprindia.org
E-mail : program@cpprindia.org CPPR is not responsible for the views expressed in this journel. Authors own resposibility for their articles
EDITORIAL

INDEPENDENT OR ‘IN-DEPENDENCE’?
Independent
or
‘In-dependence’?
“If you really want something in life, then the entire
world will conspire with you to achieve that,” declares
Paulo Coelho in his book ‘The Alchemist.’ We can see
numerous achievements in the course of history which
has asserted the truth in these words. One such glorious
moment was when India became independent on August
15, 1947. It was the final outcome of innumerable
sacrifices by millions of people.

But 60 years later, one of the important questions that


we ought to ask ourselves on this occasion is whether we
are really ‘independent’ or ‘in-dependence.’ Let us
introspect and find out for ourselves.

Freedom must enable us to express our potential to the


maximum. It must strengthen us to overcome the umpteen
pricks that life has to offer daily. And naturally we must
have command over ourselves to declare, “I am free.”
How can we boast of having achieved freedom when we
are ever haunted by the dreadful memories of the past?
Can we say we are free when we are thrown into the rat
race of competition each day where happiness is a
distant dream and satisfaction a mirage? Are we not
enslaved to day by our own petty ego, selfish desires
and turbulent emotions?

And how many of us are at least aware of this jeopardy?


Is not there a state beyond this unhappy one? Our
social scientists and theoreticians may not have found
the answer yet. Still these are some thoughts that we
need to ponder over. And the occasion is apt now. Let
us spare some thoughts and gain new insights.

“Not to do what you feel like doing is freedom” said


Swami Chinmayanada who was one of the greatest
exponents of Vedanta. Now think!!!

Are we independent or ‘in-dependence’?

Wishing all the readers a happy and peaceful


independence day,

Editor

MIND TEXT 2 AUGUST 2006


REALITY CHECK

The Faking Messiahs


A burgeoning industry addressed as
the savior of millions; the IT sector, will it
ever reconsider its work ethics and
ideologies? It seems that they work on the
British Raj’s (or Colombian drug lords)
famed doctrine, pay in volumes to enslave
your minds, to concrete the affiliation and
!" ANIL ROHIT ! allegiance to them. Isn’t this the real brain
drain? Even the best intellects are floating
Celine, a software executive in the top running MNC of the country had to return around the glittered zones of softwaring
to her office soon, as the deadline for her was approaching. What’s quite unusual in trade.
this, you may think .An employee has to stick on to certain rules and regulations. Here Can it ever be treated as a career? For
there is a slight difference in the script.Celine took leave to give birth to her child. Just a career, the elder majority of the sector
one month after her delivery, she was issued with a notice to summon at once for the must retire from the occupation after a
job! She requested for leave extension, but was given a tight alternative; either to stick successful and prolonged service. It came
on or to resign. to our concept as a considerable option
Celines are not alien to any of us. We have been seeing such instances around us for only a decade ago. Moreover a new entrant
every now and then. Being dubbed as the future life line of the country, the much in this trade has to bear this intense work
hyped IT sector’s cruel grip over the workers get revealed once again. Under the tag of loads and pressure at the primary stages
employing youth, they are juicing out to the maximum the promising lives of these itself. The chances of successful completion
youngsters. And in return fat profits fill their account. The working hours for people as a celebrated career seem hence doubtful.
in this industry is bizarre, they extent up to 16 or 18 hours a day! The hefty sum in the To add some spice to the story, there is
form of salary and perks, stuffed into hungry mouths, may silence them… but how absolutely no job security for anyone in
far? People on a mad rush to mint money from the working cubicles of call centers are this field. If at a stage one has to make a
guided by the ‘carrot-stick’ policy of MNC giants. rethinking on his job, then it is at the cost
“Being an IT professional is not a crime”, the slogans are reverberating of his career itself.
around our ears. Boy, we too are agreeing on that. Our only point is the field does Can we ever be proud of the growth of
possess everything, except some soft feelings.Hey! You are on the wrong track, buddy. any such firms which never ever
We pay you cash, in sums of many thousands; you pay us back by working for us. Here contribute anything to common man’s
there is no room for any such damn feelings.MNCs are known for their stiff work lives? Think twice before dashing out and
policies. Late shifts for lady personals of BPO sector was implemented here by these branding everyone saying this as enemies
companies, without any logical thoughts. They were never provided any security of development. We need a sustainable and
assistance for that. It may be quite common abroad but here the situation is different. pleasant development rather than a forced
One just can’t sow without setting the field right. What were the results? The nation one. Understanding such ‘Aushwitz
saw brutal assaults against them in Bangalore in the dark hours of night. Who suffered modeled concentration camps’, it seems
the loss? Was the money given strong enough to replace the loss? difficult to identify these as future’s dream
Coming back to the story, Celine had no other go. She and her husband recently zones. Hence, one can only conclude these
only bought a flat in the city. If any one of the pair is deprived of job, then the repay trading firms as the faking messiahs of
ideas of loans taken will go haywire. Now her kid is with her aunt, at a time when it 21st century.
needs her most.Yeah, we may not be moved even a bit by any such stories as we are Anil Rohit - Student of SCMS College
trained to remain neutral to all happening around us. of Engineering (B.Tech Mech. Engg.)

MIND TEXT 3 AUGUST 2006


FOCUZ

National (In)Security
!" HARIPRASAD R C !

From Mumbai bomb blasts to security breach at PM’s Residence, it has been a
tough time for the intelligence agencies and our cops for the past several weeks. And
to add some spice to the real threats were many hoax bomb calls which included bomb
scares at the India Gate and AIIMS and even a threat e-mail to our Prez. This was
followed by a revelation by our National Security Advisor of the possibility of two LeT
militants in the Indian Air Force. The country is now on a high alert with possible
terrorist strikes at the wake of Independence Day. The simple question that rises in the
mind of a commoner who reads through these facts is how secure is our nation after all.
The government may pat on our shoulders and tell us that all possible measures are
taken to ensure the safety of the citizens and the usual blah-blah about its past
achievements. But words are of little use when actions contradict them.
NO EXCUSES, PLEASE!
Isn’t it a great irony to know that millions of dollars are spent annually for defense
purposes and still the lives of the people in the nation are ever under threat. Okay, one
can argue that little can be done to ensure the lives of all the people in the country all
the time. But repeated terror strikes from the same militant organizations leave little
space for finding excuses. The fact that they are able to strike and strike repeatedly
simply reflects the fact that they are better organized and skillful and ever alert to the
strategies employed by the intelligence agencies. It is in a way pointing out the
insufficiencies in our system. Hence, we have no room for any excuses.
1. 11/7 – Mumbai Bomb blast
2. 16/7 – bomb hoax call at India Gate, ND
3. 20/7 – bomb scare at AIIMS
4. 20/7 – threat e-mail to Kalam
5. 27/7 – security breach at PM’s residence
The incident at the PM’s residence was a result of the callous indifference on the
part of the security guards. And if the media persons outside the PM’s residence had
not noticed the incident it would never have come out. This was clearly evident in the
statement issued later which said that no serious security breach had taken place.
Possibilities of terrorists sneaking in with bombs in the place of those three youngsters
seem a far fetched horror story for our government and security agencies. Constant
vigil and skillful planning must be ingrained into our system to beef up the security in
the country.
THE GREAT IRONY
India was ranked at 9th position in the National Security Index (1994) ahead of
countries like Israel, U K, France and Germany. If this is the state of affairs with
regard to security in India, imagine the possibilities lie in these countries. Yet none of
them suffer from terrorist strikes as frequently as we do. This is the great irony that is
facing us today.

MIND TEXT 4 AUGUST 2006


National Security Index 2004
Country Composite Index Rank
United States 68.51 1
China 52.93 2
Japan 40.61 3
Sweden 36.33 4
Finland 35.91 5
Russian Federation 35.40 6
Canada 35.13 7
Korea, Rep. 34.92 8
India 34.73 9
Germany 34.40 10

SECURITY IN US
Take a look at the number of instances when there was an intrusion into the White
House. May be we need to emulate US in this issue. The table plainly puts forth the
fact that not only does US place a very high priority when it comes to security matters
but it succeeds in efficiently implementing them.
YOUTH – EASY TARGETS
A major threat to the nation at present is the growth of extremist activities within
India. We can no longer put the blame on Pakisthani militants every time a terrorist
strike hits India though they might be sponsored by ISI or other terrorist groups.
Today youth, particularly Muslim youth, in India are increasingly targeted by the
underworld to carry out their operations in India. This was fact was further
substantiated by a statement of a former Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
activist in Mumbai, who said that terrorist organizations were making youth their
tools to carry out terrorist operations. The rising strength of the naksal movement and
the sprouting of extremist groups like People’s War Group (PWG) and others are also
a major concern.
BE ALERT!!!
A practical solution seems to be maintaining a state of constant alertness both by
the security agencies, government and the public. Public awareness about the seriousness
of the issue needs to be heightened. Public needs to be trained in detecting a possible
danger and a well coordinated system of intelligence agencies and police should be
able to take the necessary actions promptly.
Recent Trespassers to the White House Complex
Year Ran Through Open Gate Entered With Passholders
1989 0 0
1990 1 1
1991 0 0
1992 0 0
1993 1 0
1994 0 3

Hariprasad - He is a final year student of B.A. English Copy-Editing course at S H


College, Thevara. He is an active member of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK), the youth
wing of Chinmaya Mission.

MIND TEXT 5 AUGUST 2006


REALITY CHECK

Reservation Issue
! ABIN !
Central government policy on reservation has started fresh debates all over the
country. Union HRD Minister Sri.Arjun Singh proposed 27% reservation for OBCs
in central education institutions citing the need to satisfy the interests of all sections of
the society. The response to the bill was mixed. Doctors and medical students of
AIIMS spearheaded the agitation against the bill. They raised slogans, staged protest
marches and fasted. Their argument is that the reservation of seats in premier institutes
of the country like theirs would greatly affect the quality of education provided there.
Now, reservation is a very sensitive issue. The main aim of this proposal is supposed
to be establishing social justice. But the question is, even after 58 years of independence,
why haven’t we met the objectives of reservation which was proposed to be removed in
a time bound manner. Now, poor has become poorer and the rich, richer. Lack of
professional planning and mismanagement made the system unduly complicated.
There are numerous other factors which have undermined the purpose of reservation.
The political aftermath is an unavoidable aspect in such a sensitive case. Each and
every party aims the vote bank when it comes to issues that matter the most. Recently
some of them expressed concern over the impact of this complicated issue. At the same
time they are saying that they are not against reservation. This is clearly double
standards. Politics has become the field of opportunists and criminals where corruption
has penetrated just too deeply. Political leaders say about setting an alternative, a
road map for the future, which might never happen.
Studies give reservation “intentionally” to counter the perspectives of am admi.
Kerala provided reservation for muslim community and Latin Catholics, even right
from 1950s. Andhra Pradesh recently made a legislation concerning reservation. A
mahapanchayat was organized in Delhi by politicians to demand reservation. But
they are not ready to resolve the primary needs of common man. They only like to
make news. Education should be separated from politics, because most of the states in
India have already reached the constitutional limits beyond which no reservation is
permissible.

MIND TEXT 6 AUGUST 2006


WHAT IS MERIT? this viewpoint. The policy of the union
government is reservation to socially
A high ranked student wouldn’t
disadvantaged sections of the society
necessarily have top professional skills.
without affecting merit. Some say that
The basic point is that merit need not
reservation on the basis of economic
based on mark or caste. Can the marks
condition is illogical because social
secured in a qualifying exam or the ability
suppression is not the same as economic
to carry out a task be termed as merit?
inequality. Government has decided to
Technocrats without the right social
give reservation for SC/ST & OBCs in
attitude will be threat to the society. Our
private and unaided institutions.
doctors and medicos at AIMS protested
in a modest way. But they didn’t care for CHALLENGES& CONSEQUENCES
the patients well. This is the social face of
“We don’t categorize patients, why
this sensitive problem. If we can produce
categorize us,” was the slogan of the
qualified professionals it should be
doctors. The protesters were hurt
through process with its roots at the
emotionally.
primary level. It implies that merit should
take into account creative thinking, social Growing at an impressive pace of over
attitude and readiness to face challenges. 40%, the BPO industry is giving
It must not be based on caste or tribe. employment to 5 lakh professionals.
BPOS, KPOS (knowledge process
It has been reported that 80% of
outsourcing) and global R&D centers –
successful IIT graduates go on to work in
the area of software development,
foreign countries. It is the freedom of
automobile, pharmaceutical, gems and
graduates where to work. Even though
jewellery and biotechnology - could shift
they work for outsiders, it should help our
from India to other competing countries
country. A genius is the result of hard
like Brazil, China, and Israel, should there
work for years. Though we have made
be a decrease in the quality of education.
the provision of primary education as a
fundamental right, this facility is not Government has proposed an
completely available at present. Still there oversight panel to make time bound road
are a lot of drop outs and even enrolment map including experts. Government can
is poor. Primary schools lack basic offer the financial aid directly to children
infrastructures like school buildings, text and help them in education. The
books at affordable prices, well trained government should control the ‘one man
teachers and a revised and modern show’ of private sector through frequent
curriculum. If these can be ensured then inspection. Then there would be no
it will help a child to aspire for global privatisation or globalisation, directly.
standards. Even when we raise slogans Take a firm and wise decision on your own,
against reservation we must be aware of and don’t wait for an answer from ‘The
these facts. Brilliant pupils are prepared Time.’
right from the primary level. Let’s help
Note: One of the interesting aspects of
the child at the beginning by giving
the protests among medicos against the
adequate economical and personal aids.
reservation bill - While even the AIMS
Scholarships are a good way to help the
students got out to the streets of Delhi to
needy.
register their protests hardly any wave or
For quite sometime, in a more even ripples of that protest was felt in the
pragmatic way the NDA government medical colleges in Kerala.
broached the idea of reservation for the
“economically backward communities”.
Abin - student of S H College,
And a lone state, Rajasthan, too mooted
Thevara, Cochin (B.Sc. Physics)

MIND TEXT 7 AUGUST 2006


PUBLIC EYE

ANOTHER STORY

! RIYA GEORGE !

Talks on women empowerment of equality of women has almost become an echo to


our ears. Ah! Well, you might be thinking me as another budding women thinker of the
21st century. But, I have another story to tell. I would like to narrate the already
existing powers of women which are unnoticed. In a male dominated society who cares
for her abilities?
These days even when men speak about women empowerment and give a helping
hand, do we women actually recognize the irony in it. Do we, realize it is another way
of shouting aloud that these ‘poor women need our help’. It is true that we lack physical
strength, but are we not mentally stronger? Right from the age to walk, a girl is
jammed between the rights and the wrongs. Her duties and responsibilities have no
ends. At this juncture I would like to emphasize that I am strictly speaking on the
Indian culture & way of life.
Does any one bother to think about the multidimensional faces a women assumes
uses, like for instance when she receives her husband from the office (with a sweet smile
and a hot cup of coffee even when she is tired of her own tasks), when she deals with her
husband’s family, her kids, her neighbors and lots more. Don’t we have a second
thoughts before visiting a house which has an unwelcoming lady in it? Getting early
in the morning, preparing breakfast, going to her office, cleaning, tidying, washing,
ironing, etc…etc.. the list goes on and yet major part of her work is left unnoticed and
taken for granted.
As time takes her to wear the costume of a grandma she then becomes a insignificant
peace of furniture in the home who tells stories and looks after the grand children.
Who is to blame for this degradation of women. Are women totally to be blamed
don’t women themselves at times confine to the step mother treatment. Society need
both men and women, as they are equally for the smooth functioning of life as this co-
operation is like a wax for the candle to burn.
Bring down deep into the truth one realizes it is a women who is behind the suffering
of another women. Aren’t the mother-in-laws, sister-in-laws and daughter-in-laws
traps for each other. It is women who teaches the womens of tomorrow to be ‘silent’ ‘soft
spoken’, ‘really mannered, and the rules goes on.
So one before raising up an issue of women empowerment try to empower yourself for
the better tomorrow.

Riya George - IIIrd year BA Literature Student, St. Teresas College, Kochi

MIND TEXT 8 AUGUST 2006


RTI CORNER

RTI - REPORT
! JITHIN PAUL !

The Right to Information Act was passed by the union parliament on 15th June,
2005 and came into force on 12th October, 2005 thereby making sure that the nation
achieved another mile stone in its way forward. The Act provides the citizens the right
to gain information on virtually everything related to “public authorities”.
We in Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) believe that if properly
implemented unlike many other laws Right to Information Act, 2005 can be a
very effective tool in speeding up the process of national progress, because it
brings the “power” back to people which ultimately is what democracy aims
at. Moreover RTI ensures that the ultimate decision makers are going to be
people of the respective area’s which indirectly means that the “Public Choice”
is going to prevail, over the will over of bureaucrats thereby making sure that
meeting another objective of our organization. We believe that this act is
certainly going to make difference because it is already working. Also it is for the
first time in the history of independent India, there is a law, which casts a direct
accountability on the officer for non-performance. If concerned officer does not provide
information in time, a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the
Information Commissioner. If the information provided is false, a penalty of a
maximum of Rs 25000 can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing
incomplete or for rejecting your application for malafide reasons. This fine is deducted
from the officer’s personal salary. However, it made clear that there have nothing
similar in the history of this country were the administrators has shown such will to

MIND TEXT 9 AUGUST 2006


make the act sound good. Study shows that The Centre has clear-cut plans as to
the act is far ahead or at least better than how to move forward with the campaign
most of its counterparts, even in the process. Volunteers of the Centre are
developed countries. working and arranging programs at
places like Pathanamthitta and
RTI has always been a topic of interest
Changanassery. Centre is also
for members of our organization. We take
functioning in tune with CCS, Delhi and
up the act, both from a theoretical as well
we also make sure that we keep in touch
as a practical perspective. The RTI
with the information officers in the state
campaign of our organization was started
and has also developed correspondence
in Cochin on January 25, 2006 with a
with RTI noted activists around the
public meeting on the topic, where the act
country. In future we also look forward to
was introduced to the crowd followed by
bring out research papers on the topic.
a discussion on the future impediments
in the implementation of the Act. The RTI TEAM
discussion was coordinated by people like
RTI campaign team includes
Adv. E.X Joseph( Senior Advocate,
advocates, law students and interested
Supreme Court of India),Prof K C
volunteers. The centre sends two member
Abraham(Sacred Heart College, Thevara)

and Mr. Jacob Joseph(Faculty, team to the campaign sites and the
NUALS).Later, the members of the Centre program is scheduled like 45 minutes
tried to learn more about the Act, and presentation and remaining time is spent
various reading materials were for interaction and clarifying doubts. We
distributed among the members as well as have come to a situation where the demand
the local men. for frequent campaign and visits to
various places is on the rise. The Centre is
RTI coordinators of the Centre Mr. planning to train volunteers in order to
Jithin Paul and Ms. Malathy participated meet this demand. Already many college
in a training session on the topic at S.H going students have shown interest in RTI
College Thevara and had a meaningful Campaigns. The Centre aims to conduct
and informative discussion with the at least 100 workshops and campaigns in
faculty members of the college. the next six months. In order to achieve
Since March 2006, we have been into this target, simultaneous workshops have
rigorous campaigning at various places to be conducted and this requires more
in Kerala were the locals were given a trained man power into
clear-cut idea into the topic and Centre campaigns. These campaigns are
was also instrumental in sorting out many conducted at free of cost and the Centre
local issues and also finding solution for funds the team members for the
many of them. campaigns. Since this is a visible and
deliverable mechanism, the interest
MIND TEXT 10 AUGUST 2006
parties are many. invocation and how serious they are to public it would end up like any other law.
the procedures. In a highly literate state Using RTI, the Centre plans to take the
FUTURE PLANS
like Kerala, the awareness campaign is the initiative to find the
Along with the research papers most demanding one. We will evaluate the rules and regulations governing each
planned under RTI, the Centre is campaigns on the basis of the number of Government Department and compile it
planning to engage in Duty To Publish applications the participants file. in the form of a book. This would be an
(DTP) awareness campaign. According to Another area of focus is the compilation asset to the Kerala society at large.
a study conducted by Centre for Civil of contact addresses of Public Information
Society, Kerala ranks 14th in the DTP offices under various departments and to Jithin Paul Varghese - Co-ordinates RTI
index with regard to education publish it. Still, there are gray areas in Act campaign for CPPR. He can be
department. It shows how the bureaucracy Kerala as far as the implementation part reached at rti@cpprindia.org
and the political leadership look at RTI is concerned. Without demand from the

MIND TEXT 11 AUGUST 2006


TEA TIME CHAT

Dr. Henri Austin former Union Minister addressess NCC wing of S.H. College, Kochi organised by CPPR

MIND TEXT 12 AUGUST 2006


TEA TIME CHAT

Tea time chat with Mr. Venugopal on waste disposal in city

MIND TEXT 13 AUGUST 2006